who were immersed in the counterculture of the late 1960s

He had few friends his own age, but he got to know some seniors who were immersed in the counterculture of the late 1960s. It was a time when the geek and hippie worlds were beginning to show some overlap. “My friends were the really

smart kids,” he said. “I was interested in math and science and electronics. They were too, and also into LSD and the whole counterculture trip.”

Even after Wozniak became convinced that his new computer design should become the property of the Apple partnership, he felt that he had to offer it first to HP, since he was working there. “I believed it was my duty to tell HP about what I had

designed while working for them. That was the right thing and the ethical thing.” So he demonstrated it to his managers in the spring of 1976. The senior executive at the meeting was impressed, and seemed torn, but he finally said it was not

something that HP could develop. It was a hobbyist product, at least for now, and didn’t fit into the company’s high-quality market segments. “I was disappointed,” Wozniak recalled, “but now I was free to enter into the Apple partnership.”

His pranks by then typically involved electronics. At one point he wired his house with speakers. But since speakers can also be used as microphones, he built a control room in his closet, where he could listen in on what was happening in other rooms.

One night, when he had his headphones on and was listening in on his parents’ bedroom, his father caught him and angrily demanded that he dismantle the system. He spent many evenings visiting the garage of Larry Lang, the engineer who lived

down the street from his old house. Lang eventually gave Jobs the carbon microphone that had fascinated him, and he turned him on to Heathkits, those assemble-it-yourself kits for making ham radios and other electronic gear that were

beloved by the soldering set back then. “Heathkits came with all the boards and parts color-coded, but the manual also explained the theory of how it operated,” Jobs recalled. “It made you realize you could build and understand anything. Once you built

a couple of radios, you’d see a TV in the catalogue and say, ‘I can build that as well,’ even if you didn’t. I was very lucky, because when I was a kid both my dad and the Heathkits made me believe I could build anything.”

Lang also got him into the Hewlett-Packard Explorers Club, a group of fifteen or so students who met in the company cafeteria on Tuesday nights. “They would get an engineer from one of the labs to come and talk about what he was working on,” Jobs

recalled. “My dad would drive me there. I was in heaven. HP was a pioneer of light-emitting diodes. So we talked about what to do with them.” Because his father now worked for a laser company, that topic particularly interested him. One night he

cornered one of HP’s laser engineers after a talk and got a tour of the holography lab. But the most lasting impression came from seeing the small computers the

company was developing. “I saw my first desktop computer there. It was called the 9100A, and it was a glorified calculator but also really the first

desktop computer.

It was huge, maybe forty pounds,

but it was a beauty of a thing.

I fell in love with it.”

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